Saturday, June 19, 2010

Future Sellers of America

A few weeks ago we participated in a community yard sale. I'll call it a qualified success -- we brought home fewer items than we came with, and even recouped the cost of the space.

Although I love seeing people cart off our stuff (and relieve us a bit of our surfeit of belongings), I have a hard time actually engaging with browsers. I tend to look away so that I can't see people sweep their gaze over the items and either make their selection or, worse, walk away.

A career in sales does not beckon.

For other family members, however, the yard sale was a prime opportunity to hone huckstering skills. Sean would actually accost people walking by: "Hi! Do you want to buy anything?" he'd ask. He even learned to tailor his pitch to the audience. Observing a mother and child pair, he darted in front of our table to get up close and personal: "Would you like to buy something for your daughter? We have lots of toys!"

It was enough to make me hide under the table. Eventually I had to break it to him that he needed to tone down his hard-sell approach and just leave the potential customers alone.

How is it that someone like me, who won't even ask a store clerk where an item is located unless I can't find it myself after wandering around aimlessly for 30 minutes, can have a child outgoing enough to be a yard sale barker?